Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
Box speeds are actually just a starting point, after all Kodak actually recommended using Tmax 100 at 50 EI for greater tonality. What's more important is what EI gives you the results you require and that may not be the box speed.
Are a starting point for exposure not film speed. I believe I made this point in my post. The ISO speed gives you information from which to make a personal EI choice.

Doremus Scudder
FWIW, it seems pretty well-established that reducing developing times significantly from standard (whatever that is now, since every manufacturer can decide for itself), for whatever reason (contrast control, personal EI, etc.) will reduce effective film speed. With that in mind, it only makes sense, sensitometrically, that if one develops to a lower contrast index, one's personal E.I. will be lower than ISO speed.
It's a very common misunderstanding. Film speed isn't determined by density because negative density by it self isn't relative to print quality. Film speed is determined by gradient. The fixed density of the ISO standard is a short cut to determining the fractional gradient point. As per Nelson, the fixed density method is only accurate when the contrast falls within the ISO contrast parameters. Otherwise you need to plug ΔD and Δlog-H into the Delta-X equation because with increased and decreased negative development, the fixed density method is less accurate. You're probably conflating it with how an increase in film density usually is accompanied by a higher gradient. This isn't always the case and definitely not to the same degree in different film types. This is all explained in Simple Methods of Determining the Fractional Gradient Speeds of Photographic Materials by C.N. Nelson and J.L. Simonds. If the OP really wants to understand what the REAL ISO is about, this is the paper.

As for a personal EI, whatever makes you happy.

The statement that very manufacturer deciding for themselves what the contrast for the standard should be is patiently wrong. The contrast parameters are clearly defined in the standard. Any variation and the ISO prefix cannot be used.